Saturday, September 27, 2014

5 Reasons Why Books Are Doing Romance Wrong

     I pride myself on reading (and usually liking) a variety of different books: fiction, nonfiction, biographies, autobiographies, textbooks, fantasy, action, adventure, mystery, historical fiction, dystopian, sci-fi, books with animals, mythology, and even a good crime novel now and then.

     But there's one genre that always makes me want to sigh, groan, and hide myself under a rock - romance (I really wish you guys could hear the disgust in my voice right now). Romance - or in other words, the entire YA section.

     I have so many issues with books centered around romance, but here are the five major reasons:

  1. These kinds of books can often get inappropriate. Listen, I don't wanna read that. If you've gotta have a dating couple, then please, let them hug more often or - even better - give each other a fist bump. I'm not above high fives, either.
  2. Cheesy, cliche romances. I feel like this speaks for itself.
  3. The girl always being so needy of her boyfriend and often focusing solely on whether she and her love interest are dating or not. Seriously. Just stop thinking about whether the guy likes you or that other pretty girl. The world is days away from being destroyed and taken over by the villain, child. You got no time for silly stuff like that. 
  4. Couples that are like, BAM, we're 'in love'. Example: Romeo and Juliet. You guys literally just saw each other across the room (didn't even say a word to the other yet, mind you) and suddenly that random guy in the mask is your true love. Yeah, I don't think so.
  5. Vampires. They're blood-sucking creatures, for goodness' sake! You might as well be writing a love story about mosquitoes. 
     And you know what's even worse than romance novels? Yeah, okay, sure, they're icky and all that, but at least they usually tell you, "Hey, there's sappy, cheesy romance in here. Just a warning" and then I can be like "Okay lol nope" and decide not to read that book. I am told ahead of everything and can effectively avoid a waste of my reading time. 

     But then there's those other books. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. What's worse is when a book's author tries to pull it off as some other kind of novel, and then within the first page, shoves some conveniently-attractive love interest into your face, and then the whole book proceeds to be about that. Even just thinking about it makes me mad. UGHHHHH.
     I'm not saying that books can't have any dating couples. Far from that, in fact. One of my OTPs is a pairing of two of my characters in my not-yet-written-or-published book. I'm not even disregarding couples that may not happen in real life - a prince and a peasant girl (Dragon Slippers)? If done right, that can be adorable. Wait, I forgot that that DID happen in real life. Y'know, with William and Kate. 

     I'm just here to plead with authors (and aspiring ones like you) to stop making romances sappy and unrealistic. One of the things I often say is, "You have to make me like both characters separately before you can get me to care about them as a couple". An example would be Percy and Annabeth (from Percy Jackson and the Olympians - yeah, I know, I reference this series a lot, but that's because it's just that awesome). They started out as twelve-year-olds. They weren't even exactly friends at first, but they definitely weren't boyfriend and girlfriend. The first thing Annabeth said directly to Percy was, "You drool in your sleep". Yeah....super romantic. 

     In the first book, I met Percy and loved him for all his dorky, quirky, kindness and bravery. Then Annabeth came into the picture, and I admired her brains, courage, and determination. It's only as the series progressed that I finally started seeing what a cute couple the two would make. And even then, Rick Riordan didn't rush things, which makes me extremely happy. Percy and Annabeth were questmates, friends, best friends, crushes, and then they became the happy sailing ship Percabeth - *ahem* they became boyfriend and girlfriend, is what I mean. Even now, their relationship isn't just 'I like you and you like me'. It's the fact that they work well together and make each other better people.

     Luka and Creel from Dragon Slippers is another great example. It wasn't your typical prince-meets-pauper-and-suddenly-they-love-each-other kind of story. No, Jessica Day George took her time and let their relationship develop. Did Creel see Luka and immediately think, Wow, that prince is really attractive? Yes, yes she did, but the author let us meet Luka and let him be friendly to Creel before they decided they were 'in love'. And by the way, I'm pretty sure that if Creel had to choose between a cute prince boyfriend and being with all of her dragons, she'd pick the dragons, because, let's face it, she's one of the few YA heroines that has her priorities straight.

     All I'm saying, is think before you insert that pointless love interest. Why do these characters like each other? Does it go deeper than outward appearances (which it should)? How do they make each other better people? Are they able to stand on their own without having to completely rely on the other person?

     Well, that's the end of my rant. : P What are your thoughts about this topic? What are some fictitious couples that an author has portrayed correctly? Do tell!